Thursday, December 2, 2010

Not a Book review: "Crossroads of Twillight" and "Knife of Dreams" by Robert Jordan

I have been somewhat busy last few weeks (I had some field work and a business trip), so I wasn't up to date with my blogs. All my free time was reserved for reading. I announced starting a reread of "Crossroads of Twilight" and I did read it. After finishing it, I immediately switched to "Knife of Dreams". And after it, to "The Gathering Storm". Currently, I am almost at the middle of "Towers of Midnight"!

After reading first two books and while reading "TGS", in the back of my mind I tried composing my reviews of CoT and KoD. And then I realized that I can't do it. I have read these books several times and I am so familiar with them that I am able to start reading on any random page. I don't know when or where they exactly begin or where do they end or the exact chronological order of plots, but give me a page or two and I will know where am I, what happened before and what will happen in few pages. Not that I know them by the word; I still find details I forgot or missed. It is hard to explain this to non-obsessive reader; for non-readers, this sound crazy (I know from first hand - most people don't see reason to read something they have read once). But I think that people who are able to gulp down a book in two or three days will be able to understand me perfectly.

Also, what is the point of recommending tenth and eleventh book in series to someone? If you have read nine previous books and liked them, you will probably like those, too. Even if you stopped liking the series, you will read them because you hope things gotten better or just because you want to justify the effort invested in reading first nine books.

Although many did just that, stopped liking Wheel of Time series after some five or so books, I was never one of them. This probably has much with the fact that I started reading this series very late. I think it was sometime in 2005. At that time, nine books were out, so I didn't have to wait long between the books. "Knife of Dreams" was the first book I waited for, and I was just a few months. Many people were distanced from the series because they waited few years for the next installation, and then the book would advance the plot for few inches and at the same time start several new plot-threads.

This is also true for "Crossroads of Twilight". I adore this book, especially because sequences concerning Mat (I presume you are familiar with the series if you got so far). Although other characters had their own moments, most (not all, but I think most) fans will agree that Mat's sections is what they remember best from this book. But, to be frank, I can see why this was something of a disappointment for fans who waited three years. There weren't any conclusions; this book just advanced plots started before, but haven't finish any.

On the other hand "Knife of Dreams" is where many fans came back to the series. Three major plots finished (Mat's, Perrin's and Elayne's) and two other presented fairly (Rand's and especially Egwene's), with much more focused writing, brought back old glory to WoT. For me, it didn't ever lose its shine.

After "Knife of Dreams", unfortunate illness and death of Rober Jordan, then choosing of Brandon Sanderson to complete the series, with strong marketing campaign from Tor, made me to never lose WoT from my mind for long. After long wait of four years, I was impatiently waiting with the other for first part of last book, "The Gathering Storm".

Join me in my next post, where I plan to do a normal review of TGS.

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